In response to a petition filed on the White House We the People site, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on Friday released a policy memorandum (PDF) supporting free public access to the results of federally-funded research. The policy mandates that, within six months, “each Federal agency with over $100 million in annual conduct of research and development expenditures…develop a [draft] plan to support increased public access to the results of research funded by the Federal Government.” Of particular interest to librarians and other information professionals, required features of the draft agency plans include “a strategy for improving the public’s ability to locate and access digital data resulting from federally funded scientific research” and “an approach for optimizing search, archival, and dissemination features that encourages innovation in accessibility and interoperability, while ensuring long-term stewardship of the results of federally funded research.”
Meanwhile, legislation recently introduced in Congress (H.R. 708) calls on federal agencies “to develop public access policies relating to research conducted by employees of that agency or from funds administered by that agency.” The bill is commonly called the FASTR bill, short for “Fair Access to Science and Technology Research.”
Open access expert Peter Suber succinctly describes the key differences between the White House policy and the legislation–and explains why he welcomes both–in his Google+ post Second shoe drops: new White House Directive mandates OA.
While the bill may or may not pass, the directive is already in force. How will this affect your work? Let us know in the comments.